Cornell University

May 11 2010

Listening to Each Other

President Skorton opens health care delivery conference

As ILR's health care reform conference opened Tuesday, more than 200 people across a breadth of disciplines and health-related professions were welcomed by Cornell President David J. Skorton.

"I do think it's a very important time for ILR and Cornell to step up," he said as the event opened at the Italian Academy in Manhattan. "The world of work," he said, "is always superimposable on health care."

"ILR is very well suited to ask the questions, to listen to others ... to develop and test hypotheses and move forward" as the nation grapples with improving the ways health care is delivered, Skorton said.

Successful reform demands listening to each other and to the workers in the midst of delivering care, he said.

"It's very important to listen to front-line workers ... they have the knowledge, experience and chance to be responsive" to patients, Skorton said.

Solutions to health care delivery problems cannot be found without collaboration among every sector involved in health care delivery, he said.

The audience reflected many of the sectors -- physicians, labor-management officials, front-line workers who provide direct care to patients and others.

As a land grant university, Cornell is ideally suited to facilitate health care reform by blending academic research and day-to-day applicability, Skorton said.

Sessions on patient safety, electronic medical records, the role of unions in improving patient care and other issues continue through Wednesday.

Conference co-sponsors are Cornell's Clinical & Translational Science Center, the Business and Labor Coalition of New York, Cornell University Cooperative Extension New York City and Weill Cornell Medical College.

Funders include ILR's Pierce Memorial Fund and Cornell University's Institute for the Social Sciences.